What is caching and how do you implement it with WordPress?

Caching web pages can be very beneficial to your website for a number of reasons. In this, episode 8 of the AskHighrise series of videos, Mark looks at what caching is, why it can be a good thing and how you can implement caching on your WordPress website.

Caching the contents of your web pages can be very beneficial to your site for a number of reasons. Lets take a look in more detail about what caching is, why it is a good thing and how you can implement caching in WordPress.

What is caching?

Caching is essentially a way of speeding up your site because your server caches the pages that are generated with a visitor views a webpage so the next person that visits the same page, get the version serviced from the server’s memory without the server having to process the page again.

It is like when humans do a complex calculation for the first time. If it is a mathematical calculation you are likely to reach for the calculator, or a pen and paper in order to process the answer. This takes time. However, do the same calculation again straight after and your brain knows the answer without doing the calculation. This is because your brain has cached or stored the answer in memory for fast retrieval.

Caching on the web works in the same way. The first time a page is hit, the server processes the page, probably getting content from the database and then serves that page to the user. At the same time, it caches, in memory the served page so the next user to request the same thing gets the cached version much quicker.

Why should I use caching on my website?

Simply, caching speeds us your site and makes sure that pages are delivered to visitors quicker. Faster websites are better for a number of reasons including:

  • Better user experience – who wants to wait for a web page to load?
  • Improved SEO – Google loves fast loading pages and they use page speed as a ranking metric when deciding where to place a page or website in the search results.
  • Better conversions – if you are waiting for a page to load your are less likely to be purchasing a product, clicking a call to action or subscribing to a campaign

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About the author

Mark is the lead WordPress developer at Highrise Digital. He has been working with WordPress for over 13 years, way back to 2005. He focuses on back-end development, integrating the website build with WordPress so it can be editable.